• Well, happy Monday!

• This was definitely one of the best weekends of 2020 for our family.

• Molly and I went on a date Friday night, which was sweet.

• Downtown Gilbert seemed to be in just about full-swing.

• I’m sure it’s not, but it was still fun to see many of the restaurants open and feeling semi-normal.

• We ate at Culinary Dropout and there was a little kid playing live music — he was slaying it on the electric and sounded pretty good vocally.

• Pretty sweet when a little guy is rocking “Hotel California.”

• Then on Saturday we had our “Rite of Passage” day for Mary as she prepares to begin school today.

• It’s a tradition we’ve done with our kids before they start school (and then again at other key transitional moments) to create these special days that mark the moment and prepare them for what’s coming.

• For the school Rite of Passage, we pick four qualities that we think the individual kid — based on their particular personality — will need to succeed in a life of learning.

• Then for each quality, we build out a special activity that tries to make it memorable.

• Here’s what Molly and I did with Mary this time:

#1 — Endurance — we hiked the “A” mountain over at ASU in the 100º+ heat

#2 — Asking for Help — we gave her three assignments that she’ll know by the end of the year but doesn’t now, and took her to three different homes where she could ask some of our friends to help her figure them out

#3 — Having Fun — we went to Elevate Trampoline Park with the whole family (it was a blast!)

#4 — Trusting God — we took her to dinner and gave her a book about the surprising love of Jesus

• It made for a very special and memorable day.

• I got to the end of it and thought, “This was one of the best days of this year for sure.”

• Then yesterday we went to church — with other people!

• It was sweet to see a bunch of folks that I haven’t seen in a long time, wonderful to hear a worship band play loud and good, and fun to preach to both the camera and people in the room.

• Some basic stats on yesterday that I found interesting…

+ We set up 464 chairs, with rows distanced significantly (the room normally holds 700-800)

+ There were 263 in worship and 75 kids at 9:00am

+ There were 327 in worship and 92 kids at 10:45am

+ That totals 757, which is about 44% of our pre-Covid attendance (and quite a bit more than I was expecting)

+ It’s notoriously tough to track real online engagement, but it seems there were at least 616 folks who watched for some period online (and many of those likely include multiple people watching)

• I always like starting a new series, and yesterday was no exception (here’s the sermon).

• I’ve preached a number of times from the gospel of John, but this will be the first time really working through it.

• I love the idea of focusing for an extended period of time on Jesus, and the gospel of John is a great place to do it.

• If you’re interested, here are a few resources I’m using throughout the series:

+ The Bible Project Videos on John (Part 1 and Part 2)
+ Lesslie Newbigin, The Light Has Come
+ D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John
+ J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of John (free online here) *this is the most devotional

• We also experimented with some Q & A for the online folks after each service and got a few questions — you can see those here and here.

• It was weird yesterday afternoon to go home and not return for a 5:00pm service.

• It was also crazy how much less exhausted I was last night (and today) than a normal day with all three services.

• (My best theory is that the process of relaxing in the early afternoon and then having to ramp back up creates a yo-yo of adrenaline that makes it extra energy-challenging)

• But I’ll happily restart a third service if it becomes a necessity in the future to be able to reach more people.

• Last night I went to the Parent Dessert for the incoming 6th graders to our Student Ministry (my Caitlin is a 6th grader).

• I was really proud of Joshua Ruiz and our student team with the job they did and I honestly can’t imagine a better situation for a youth ministry for my kids.

• So encouraging.

• Well… who knows what this week will hold?

• New announcements on in-person school?

• The cancellation of college football? 😬

• Lots more cultural contentiousness?

• Through it all, I’ll keep trying to look to Jesus — join me!

• All of life is all for Jesus.